Question: Sometimes I see people who behave virtuously, but at other times they may be thoughtless or rude. I want to apply the four locks and keys from the Sutras, but I find it difficult to discern between the really true virtuous people and those who are not really virtuous, just for show. Can you give guidance on this?

Answer: It’s difficult to discern between the really true virtuous ones  and those who are “so called” virtuous just for the show. You know the show; all the shows end when the curtain drops. So the “so called” virtuous will not last long. Very soon the curtain will drop. Real virtue will always be virtuous. But that doesn’t mean you should always think they are not virtuous. Trust them. Think they are all virtuous, but until you are sure of that, be careful. You are going to find a friend. You are friendly with that person, but you don’t give yourself completely until you make sure that he is a good friend. This is a sort of testing period, almost like dating a person. Until you are sure, only when you are sure, then you marry him.

Don’t we do that normally? We date somebody. Why? It is a testing period. Not only friends, even guru dating. Right? Go to that ashram, go to this ashram. Go to that guru, this guru. Testing, dating. And finally, if you decide he is the right person, put the entire trust in that person. “Oh, he is the right guru.” Once you give yourself to that extent, then don’t keep doubts. If you leave room for doubt, then after a month or two you may find something, “Could a guru do that?” Then it creates doubt. What would you do? Divorce that guru? Marry another guru? That’s wrong. Once you give that trust you have to have complete trust, but your complete trust itself will change that person. That’s what’s happening. You date, marry and then divorce. Date, marry, divorce; date, marry, divorce. When is it going to end? Be careful until you pick one: once you pick one, stick with that. Because there is always a human side in every person, every thing. You have to learn to ignore it and transform that person by your own affection, by your own trust, your own love. Let the person be ashamed to create doubt in your heart, and change.

In the guru’s case, you don’t know why he or she is doing that. Once you trust him, okay, there may be some good reason for that person doing that. Kabir Das, a great saint, once talked about his guru. “I selected him to be my guru. Even if I see him coming out of a disreputable person’s house, I will still have faith because I don’t know why he is doing that. He may have a reason, a good reason for it. I believe it.” That way, you are making your mind strong. If you are going to give room for doubting every little thing, that’s a weakness of your mind. You should be strong enough. Sometimes you find the worst person, but your faith in that person can change the person. Maybe God brought you that person to get help from you. So you should not waiver in that. That is, after you’ve selected, put your trust in one person.

So everybody is virtuous. No doubt, sometimes it’s in the background. But your faith in that person will bring out that truth. It’s almost like looking for gold in the mine. You dig out one ton of material and started sieving it. How much will you throw away to get one little piece of gold? So the same way, in each and every one there always is some good side. You have to bring it out. That way you prove yourself to be strong and you’ll also be helpful to others. So the “four keys” doesn’t ask you to always have doubt. If it is not comfortable for you, ignore it. But that doesn’t mean that you should hate the person. Four locks and keys. What are they?  Happiness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard for the wicked

Swami Satchidananda

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